Kate Emiley is a brand and content strategist with an obsession for helping small businesses create epic content. She has an epic range of free content both on her Youtube channel and as downloads from her website, so do check them out.

We sat down over Instagram live on Monday 5 August to chat all things Digital WOW.

Here are the key takeaways;

Kate is a huge fan of batching tasks and Asana for project management and keeping her work life organised.

She also time blocks and dedicates days in her week to work on different aspects of her business. Mondays are for her YouTube channel, Client work on Tues / Wed / Thurs, and Friday is dedicated to activities that will help grow her business.

Having a repurposing strategy for the content you create for your business is so important, it’s ok to use the same ideas and concepts and it’s valuable for your business because you’re being know for something.

Take the time to infuse your regular emails to your subscribers with personality and a little of what has been happening in your world, it gives people more to connect with. Don’t just ‘sell’ something every time you send an email.

Focus on storytelling when leveraging digital channels, and delivering value through your email content.


Full transcription 

Cat: So thank you so much for joining me. I’m thrilled to have you on Digital WOW. And I feel like, yeah, pretty blessed to see you twice in one week, once in real life and now online. So for those of you who don’t know your story or your career to date, can you fill us in on a little bit of the backstory?

Kate: Yeah, sure. So I currently am working full-time as a brand and content strategist. So I work with small businesses on, yeah, basically developing content strategy for them, and really pulling in that brand story piece, and really helping them understand what it is that they are offering, and being able to create content around that to really drive sales in their business.

Kate: So my background is in marketing. I worked in corporate for about eight years, going through a whole lot of different industries. I was one of those people that would chop and change jobs. Within the first 12 months to two years, I always found like I needed new challenges, and having your own business is definitely a great way to have challenges all the time.

Cat: Absolutely.

Kate: Yeah. I kind of just fell into this consulting business, because I started a healthy lifestyle blog, and did that for about two years. And, in doing that, I was speaking to a lot of small business owners regularly to develop content for them for the blog, and I noticed that a lot of them didn’t have marketing strategies at all. Like, even if they’ve got this beautiful yoga studio that they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on fit out and all of that sort of thing, they don’t actually have a strategy in place for how to bring more people into their business.

Kate: So, I was like, “Oh, okay. This is interesting.” I’d never worked with small businesses before. So I then started doing a bit of consulting on the side of that, and then decided to just go into it full-time from there.

Cat: Amazing. And how long have you been full-time in the business?

Kate: I’ve been full-time for about a year, since I moved back to Perth. Before that, I was working … I was doing a part-time job as well.

Cat: Yeah.

Kate: Yeah.

Cat: Awesome. So amazing. And it’s funny that you kind of touched on the, I guess, the challenges as well as the eye-opening situations that you have when you do start to work with smaller businesses. Because I wrote about that in my email that went out to subscribers this morning, because I was-

Kate: I read it. I read it.

Cat: … reflecting that I … I was reflecting on that myself, and it’s such a shift from working in larger businesses or in more corporate kind of settings where you’re-

Kate: Definitely.

Cat: … one of many in a marketing team. Usually you might have an area of focus or specialty. And then when you start to work with small businesses, you’re really directly impacting them. You’re working one-on-one sometimes with the business owner, and sometimes they’re asking you for such a wide scope of activity, and it’s really nice to be able to bring all of that to the table and work one-on-one with businesses, and really see that impact.

Kate: And I think, also, when you work with small business owners, there’s such a greater passion element, rather than working in corporate, where you’ve got bosses who … like, it’s just their job. It’s not something that they’ve created themselves and that they’re so excited to see grow and flourish. And even if it’s a side hustle and they’ve got a couple of businesses running. I’ve got a couple of clients that have two or three businesses on the go.

Kate: So it’s just so awesome to be drawn into that, and it’s such a great feeling when anything that you do for them actually makes an impact as well.

Cat: Yeah. And the milestones can be, I guess, in the scheme of things, or the scale of things, smaller, but they have far greater impact, and they’re far more exciting because they mean so much more to a smaller business as well.

Kate: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. Yeah.

Cat: Awesome. So we’re both loving working with smaller businesses.

Kate: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Cat: Yeah. What type of industries do you normally specialize in? Or where do your passions lie when it comes to executing content and creating content for clients?

Kate: A lot of them are in the health and wellness space, just because that’s where I’m super comfortable. I find, if you’re writing content, you really need to understand the content. In saying that, I do have a couple of clients that I don’t have a lot of experience in their industry, and I’m still creating content for them. But I really write from a super personable voice, so I find that, if it’s something that I get, or I’m passionate about, or I feel like I could be their end customer, then I feel like I can write in a way that really engages that person directly.

Kate: So I’ve got a few natural beauty brands. I’ve got a few lifestyle brands. I’ve also got a photographer, which I have no experience in photography, but that’s been a really good one because I’ve found that, if you’re a good content writer, you’re really good at doing research and writing in your own voice and being able to package up all these other stuff that’s out there and put it in a way that has a unique spin to it, that’s going to directly relate to their customers. And I think, I’ve definitely picked up that skill.

Kate: I picked up that skill back in uni when I remember, doing my double degree, there was this one unit that I hated. I just didn’t get it. In the first year … We had to do it for three years, so six semesters of this unit. It was horrible. It’s called cultural identities text, and it was a core unit, and that was in my communications degree. And I, in the first year, I was like, “I don’t get this. It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know what I’m doing.” But by the third or fourth year, I started to understand how to research journals in a way that I could just pull out content and then create it into my own argument, even though I didn’t really know what I was talking about. But I went through a whole load of journals and go, “Okay, these relate.” Pulled out the color highlighters and, “These particular arguments relate to these arguments. Okay, we’ll pull those together and we’ll write something in my own words.”

Kate: Even if it wasn’t something that I particularly understood or believed in or … Yeah. But it’s so funny because, going into marketing, that wasn’t really a skill that I had to practice that much. I was mainly in coordination type stuff. And so, yeah, it was funny. I was just reflecting on it recently, actually, and I was like, “That is actually a skill I think I picked up, even though it wasn’t taught, it was something I had to learn on the go and it’s definitely helped me.”

Cat: And now, it’s so valuable.

Kate: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. For sure.

Cat: Definitely. Definitely. Now, having the flexibility to, I guess, design your own routine, daily routines and that type of thing, how do you set up your day to … day or week, and do you have certain days where you … I know you’re a big fan of batching content. Do you have certain tasks that you try to allocate to different days, and what does a typical day look like for you?

Kate: Yeah. So just talking about a week, I guess. So, for me, I have a YouTube channel, which I know you’re across. But yeah, so I release weekly videos for that. So on Mondays, I pretty much dedicate my day to YouTube in some capacity, whether that be writing and researching scripts, or recording, or editing, or uploading, or promotion. And Mondays are pretty much dedicated to that. I do a little bit of other content stuff for my own business as well on that day usually.

Kate: And then, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are pretty much dedicated to client work. If I have to take a client meeting on a Monday or Friday, I do, but generally, the actual bulk of the content and writing and all that sort of thing, I schedule for those three days. And then Friday I try to leave as a day where I can start doing stuff to help grow my business. So I’m launching a new course in a couple of weeks, and do some more personal development stuff. So I’m a big fan of online learning. I’m creating courses in the space, but also I learn a lot from other people. So I like to be able to dedicate a little bit of time to that, because otherwise you kind of just get lost and just keep running on the treadmill and forget about it.

Kate: So that’s kind of my week. But from a day perspective, working from home is so nice, but sometimes, especially in winter, I’ve found it really hard to get moving in the morning. My husband works from home as well, so he works on Melbourne time still. He’s working for a company in Melbourne, so he has to be-

Cat: Snap.

Kate: … up. Which is good.

Cat: Yeah.

Kate: So otherwise I’d probably sleep in a bit longer than what I should. But yeah, I get up, have breakfast, have a tea, and I try to do some reading or maybe watch some YouTube videos or something like that. I try and just … Yeah, either learn something or do something a bit more mindful, not get straight into work or into social media straight off the bat. And then, yeah, I’ve got a puppy, Willow. She’s a one year old Cavoodle. So I usually take her for a walk. And then, after that, I get into my day from there.

Cat: Amazing. Amazing. Now, I’m dying to know if you’ve got any productivity hacks or, I guess, how you keep on top of stuff? Because I know you produce such a huge amount of content for yourself and for clients. Do you use any techniques or apps, or how do you keep yourself organized?

Kate: I know you mentioned before, I do batching, and batching for my own content is so, so valuable. So like I said, Mondays is usually my YouTube day, but that doesn’t mean I’m writing, recording, editing in that one day. I’ll spend one Monday a month writing scripts. I’ll spend one Monday a month doing the recording. And then trying to do the editing in one day, it can be a little bit hard, depending on where I’m at, but I find that’s something I can do on the fly. But especially recording content, because it takes so much effort. You’ve got to have the right energy, and you’ve got to do your hair, put your makeup on, all those sorts of things, which I don’t do every day, to be honest. You’re lucky, I’ve done that this morning.

Kate: But yeah, it’s just like, you have to have that energy, and I find once you have that energy, you can just keep going and record four. I try and record four videos in one go. And then, yeah, and then it’s done for the month, which is pretty awesome. And it also, from a strategic point of view, it means I’m thinking about how that content all relates to one another, rather than coming to a Monday and going, “I need to release a video tomorrow. What’s it going to be about? I’ll come up with some random idea.” It just allows you to be a lot more strategic as well.

Kate: But on that note around strategy and content, I’ve recently released a video about repurposing, and I think that is such a big content hack that a lot of businesses don’t realize, or think that they have the permission to do. I was at a workshop recently I ran, and I was talking to someone about creating content and they’re like, “There’s just so much to do. I’ve got to write my blog, then do an email, then social media.” I’m like, “Are you repurposing the content for all the platforms?” And they’re like, “No. I thought I had to create something unique for every single platform, because what if someone reads all three?”

Cat: Yeah.

Kate: It’s like, “People are busy. They don’t engage with every single thing that you do.” And even if they do, if you just word it slightly differently and create it unique for that platform, then it’s going to be received differently. When someone’s scrolling through Instagram, they’re in a completely different mindset to when they’re reading your blog or your email.

Kate: So I think just understanding that it’s okay to use the same ideas and concepts again and again. It’s actually valuable for your business to do that, because you’re being known for something, rather than trying to create new stuff every time.

Cat: Yeah. And if the content is high quality and giving value and educational, or whatever the main thrust of the content is, if it is of quality and if people do happen to see it twice in one day, it’s not going to annoy them. If it’s poor quality content, then they might get a bit like, “Oh, here we go.” But if it’s great content and it’s that kind of cornerstone content and pillar content, then yeah, absolutely. Re-share that. Rework it. Repurpose it. Because it is so important to not feel like you have to reinvent the wheel, but to leverage the stuff that you’ve already got as well.

Kate: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.

Cat: Awesome. I did see that video. It was a good one.

Kate: Yeah. Good, good.

Cat: I did do a little bit of a binge on some of your most recent YouTube videos.

Kate: It’s so funny. So many people say that-

Cat: They’re amazing.

Kate: … that they’ll not watch it for like four weeks, and then they’ll binge four videos in one go. But I guess that’s the YouTube model. Like, it works so well for binging content, because you’re like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And if you can create videos that lead onto the next video, it works really well from that perspective.

Cat: Yeah. Now, this might be a good segue. So chatting a little bit of YouTube might be a good segue into, I guess, any digital marketing tips or digital hacks or tactics that have really helped you shift your business and really focus your business? I know that you do spend a lot of time creating content for YouTube, so it’s obviously a channel that you’re focusing on. So feel free to talk about that. But is there anything that you really feel has made a big difference in your business, from a digital perspective?

Kate: Yeah. I mean, my whole business is pretty much digital marketing. So it’s kind of … Yeah. I probably … When was it? It was probably at the start of the year, I started sending out a weekly newsletter that wasn’t just promoting my YouTube video for the week. It was actually talking about something that was happening in my business or something I’d learnt, or … Yeah. I notice your emails are actually quite similar to that. It’s not just promoting something. It’s actually talking about something a bit more personal, and it brings that storytelling element into it.

Kate: I’ve found since doing that has helped me so much with engaging with people. I’m actually getting responses to those emails, which is amazing, because getting a response to an automated email is pretty rare. And when someone responds, it’s like, “This hit home with me. Thank you so much.” It’s like, “Okay, cool. That’s really working.” And obviously some weeks, there’ll be no replies, but other weeks I’ll have 10 and it’s like … It just, I guess, it reinforces that that’s such a great platform for communication. People think that email’s dead and people get too many emails. And while I think people do get too many emails and there’s a lot of promotional emails out there, actually being able to understand how to leverage the power of email and really speak to your audience in a way that is relatable, is personal, and it gets them to build that trust with you and gets them to understand who you are and hopefully buy from you in the future, or ask you to work for them in the future.

Kate: But I think it does take a lot of consistency and practice and dedication, because it is something that I think you need to do regularly and on a weekly basis. But one other thing I did want to talk about, which is completely different, it’s more around the organization type aspect, I’ve recently started using Asana, because two of my clients were using it. And I love that tool. So if anyone’s looking for some sort of-

Cat: Me too.

Kate: … project management. Helpful, useful, just getting everything into one place. It’s the best. I was using Trello before, and it was just really hard to plan my week. It just didn’t work how I wanted it to. And, oh my God, Asana is the best. So, it’s free. I don’t know, do you pay for it, Cat?

Cat: I don’t. I’m still using the free version because-

Kate: Yeah, same.

Cat: … the free version’s pretty much got what I need.

Kate: Exactly.

Cat: The only thing that I would love in the free version is probably the templated projects. So I tend to use templated projects if I’m doing like a web development project where there’s a lot of sub-tasks that are quite standard and that type of thing. So being able to quickly replicate those types of things would be handy, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me at the moment.

Cat: But I agree. I’ve used Trello and I’ve used Asana, and I know people either love Trello or they love Asana, so it must be something about the way that our brains work. But I agree. I absolutely love Asana. I love that you can have … that your projects with your sub-tasks, and even sub-tasks having sub-tasks, and lists within lists. I just love that. So you can tick stuff off. And I really love it.

Kate: And color-coding. You can color-code everything, which is awesome.

Cat: Yeah

Cat: And for a content strategist like yourself, being able to organize a content strategy, yeah, I can absolutely see how you’d be leveraging all of that functionality in there for different clients, for your own work, and for building courses. And yeah.

Kate: … that. That’s okay. That’s fine.

Cat: It didn’t come up on my screen, so it’s all good. 

Kate: Okay, good.

Cat: Totally fine. Totally fine. I agree. Yeah. So I think when you’re dealing with ideas, you need somewhere central where you can brain dump and you can just park stuff and get it out of your head and then start to organize it into some kind of format. And I totally agree, Asana is where it’s at. 100%.

Kate: Yeah. For sure.

Cat: Awesome. Thank you for sharing that.

Kate: So it’s not really a digital marketing tip, but it’s just more of a, I guess a organizational, productivity thing that I’ve, yeah, just taken on board in the last couple of months, and I love it. Yeah.

Cat: Absolutely. What’s one thing that brings you wonder every day?

Kate: I loved this question, and I was like, “Wonder. That’s such an interesting perspective.” But what came to mind straight away was how connected and supportive we have this beautiful girl boss community, both in Perth, in Australia, internationally, which I think has stemmed largely from Instagram. And it’s just amazing that you can make these incredible connections with people online in such an easy way, being able to share stuff that’s happening in your day, and watch what other people are up to and feel like you actually know them before you know them.

Kate: And it’s really awesome as a, yeah, as someone that works with clients, because a lot of my clients aren’t in Perth, so I haven’t even met them. I’ve got clients in the States and all over Australia. And they’re like, “I feel like I know you, because you share so much on Stories.” And it’s like, “That’s really cool.”

Cat: It is cool.

Kate: Especially when so many … I think especially female-led, passion-led businesses are so much wanting, if they’re going to hire someone, they want someone that fits their vibe. And that is someone that they would want to go for a coffee with, or someone that is going to be on the same page as them, not just potentially the best expert in whatever it is. And it’s just so cool. It’s so different to what it was when I was back in corporate, because, yeah, you’d go to an agency and you might become friends with the account manager, but you won’t even know the people that are working on your work. And not to the same sort of level either.

Cat: Absolutely. I totally agree. Yeah. You just kind of think, “Wow. How is the landscape that we work in going to be different in another five years, given the barriers to connectivity are so low and you can work with anyone, anywhere around the world?” It’s so exciting. But gee whiz, what is going to happen in five years’ time, and how are we going to be reflecting on the good old days of doing an Instagram Live? Yeah. You can’t even think at the moment what could even be possibly coming. Some of it is probably going to be a bit scary and intrusive, as it always is with technology.

Cat: But yeah. I agree. And it’s so lovely, particularly when you typically work on a day-to-day basis solo, or from home, or that type of thing, to feel so connected and so supported, even when you have your own business and you’re a one woman show as well.

Kate: Absolutely.

Cat: I totally agree.

Kate: These people almost become like your cheerleaders as well. Like they will notice your wins before you almost do, and they’re like, “You’re doing so well,” or, “Keep going.” And you’re like, “Oh, cool. Yeah, I am doing a good job.” Like you forget when you’re stuck in your own business, especially when you’re so passionate about what you’re doing, you always feel like you’re striving for something bigger and better, that it becomes hard to just go, “Oh.” Reflect on the stuff that you’ve actually achieved and look at that sort of stuff. It’s really nice when other people notice it.

Cat: Absolutely. Yeah. Celebrate all those wins with you, and have those kind of chats that you would normally have when you were back corporate side, and when you were working in a team. But they’re the team that you get to choose, which makes it even more beautiful, because they’re not just random people that you’ve been stuck with. They’re people that you actually vibe with, and that you have such a good time online with, and then in real life as well.

Kate: I love that. Yeah. That’s so true.

Cat: Yay.

Kate: Yeah.

Cat: All right. So final question. What’s one thing that you … Well, what do you love most about digital marketing? I know that you work across a number of areas, and we’ve kind of touched on quite a few elements of this, but overall, as a, I guess, as tactics that you execute for clients, perhaps, what do you love the most that digital marketing allows you to do?

Kate: Well, I think I’ve touched on it a little bit, but email marketing is definitely an area I see small businesses really being able to take advantage of, and I think it’s a real missed opportunity for a lot of businesses, and the businesses are really leveraging it well are getting a lot of results from it. And it’s just doing it the right way and not just spamming people with sales content.

Kate: And, I think, having the practice on social media, people are really starting to understand, it’s not just about selling your products, it’s about creating this story, and in other content that they create online, that they, yeah, will start to be able to create email content that’s really delivering value, rather than just selling their products or services.

Cat: Absolutely.

Kate: So yeah. I think that storytelling piece is a really cool one with digital marketing. I think it’s something that … It is so accessible to small business owners, because you can do it for free. Whereas, back in the day of traditional marketing, you had to pay for everything. You had to pay for your page ads or your television ads or a letterbox drop or whatever it was. It was all paid for stuff, and the only free stuff you could get is PR, which is so hard to really control the story, for one. But also, get in front of people regularly, because people were just joining in that story every now and then, or when you’ve done a launch, or when you’ve done something exciting.

Kate: So yeah. I think it’s just … Digital marketing’s so awesome because, yeah, it’s so accessible and, like you were saying, everyone’s starting new businesses and stuff, it’s going to be so interesting to see what this landscape’s like in five years’ time. But it’s also really cool because, even though a lot of those businesses, as we know, fail, people pick up so many new skills and hobbies and they’re stretching themselves in ways I don’t think we ever were encouraged to do so in traditional education, that I think it’s still not a bad thing. Even if a business fails, it’s really not a bad thing, because you’ve learnt so much from it, and even if you do it as a hobby or a side hustle or that sort of thing, then it’s just another thing to add to you as a person and something that makes you interesting, and something to talk about and learn from.

Kate: That’s the other cool thing about digital marketing is you don’t have to hire a professional to do it. Like, even though you and I are professionals in this case, you don’t have to, and you can learn a lot online, and you can have a go, at least for the first 12 months, two years, and then hire someone professional to scale up and make it bigger and better and all that sort of stuff. But in those initial stages, you can really have a go yourself and do it all for free, which is incredible.

Cat: Yeah. And I think that’s such a nice perspective on it as well, because digital marketing does reduce a lot of those barriers. And, again, like you said, a lot of businesses don’t make it past a certain point, or people change their minds, or personal circumstances change and things like that. So there’s many reasons why a business that starts today won’t be around in a few years.

Cat: But, again, through going through the process of launching a business and launching your social channels and getting an email list going and creating content and telling your story, yeah, you’re learning invaluable skills that can help you in communication with other people. It can help you with starting another business, or going back into work for someone else as well. So, yeah, it’s a really nice perspective. It’s not wasted time and energy. It’s all very, very valuable stuff that can be reused and repurposed in other life situations.

Kate: Yeah. And I think, even just starting your own business is putting yourself out there and it’s taking a risk. And in corporate, often, people will stay in jobs for 10 years because it’s comfortable and they know what they’re supposed to be doing. They can see what their career path looks like, what’s their next promotion, when that’s going to happen, what they need to do to get there. But when you’re creating a business, you don’t know what’s going to happen and you’re really taking a chance. And I think, even just going through that process of creating something and launching something and seeing what happens, it’s such an amazing personal development opportunity for you that I think it’s often seen so negatively, “Oh, what if I fail?” Or, “All these businesses fail,” whatever, whatever.

Kate: It’s like, “But, there’s so many cool things that come from starting a business.” And even just, if you start a business, you network with a few people and you make some new connections, some new friends, even just that in itself is an awesome asset from starting a business. Yeah.

Cat: 100%. 100%. Because, again, when you find those … Because everyone knows, the older you get, the harder it is to find those friends because you naturally just, you either make friends with the people that you work with or, when you’re a business owner, when you network and you meet other people online, and then in real life, they do become … they have the potential to become really, really close friends, because again, you’re going through those shared experiences and commiserating and celebrating and supporting each other. The bonds that can grow through that are probably lifelong as well.

Kate: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I love our little girl boss community we’ve got in Perth. It’s amazing.

Cat: It is, yeah.

Kate: It’s so cool to be a part of, and being able to just connect with so many people that I’ve never met people like a lot of the people we’ve got in our little bubble. And it’s, yeah, it’s awesome. I love it.

Cat: It is awesome. It is awesome. Well, you are awesome, and thank you so much-

Kate: So are you.

Cat: … for taking the time out of your busy Monday. What are you working on today, for the rest of the day? Is it a batching day?

Kate: Yeah. It’s content creation day, so I’m actually working on a freebie about email marketing. It’s going to be on how to write better emails.

Cat: Perfect.

Kate: So that’s going to be a good one. Yeah.

Cat: Something that I’m sure you’re coaching a lot of clients on.

Kate: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. For sure.

Cat: Perfect. Perfect. Well, enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you so much to everyone who joined us. I couldn’t keep leaning over and waving back, but there was lots of waves and lots of his, so thank you so much to everyone for joining us.

Kate: Yeah, thank you.

Cat: And thanks again, Kate. It was a real pleasure to speak with you.

Kate: Thanks so much for having me, Cat. It was so awesome-

Cat: You’re welcome.

Kate: … to be able to come on. This is my first little interview situation like this.

Cat: Yay. It’s fun.

Kate: Yeah, I love it. It’s awesome. It’s really fun.

Cat: It’s super fun, isn’t it? I love it. I’ll download the video and we’ll do all of that stuff and we’ll get it up on [ID TV 00:30:23] and stuff.

Kate: Perfect. Awesome. All right.

Cat: See you, darling.

Kate: Bye.

Cat: Have a good one.